CrowdPC, Inc.

New computing platform moves cloud computing down to local business...

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CrowdPC — The Project

 
Welcome to our attempt to bring together Open Source LAMPP + Javascript developers from around the world to revolutionize small business computing. If you are a (LAMPP based) rich Internet applications developer, or you are a small business operator, or, you are involved in the technology sector in any way and just want to see an ambitious, credible new computing platform project have a chance to hit the market, we ask you to back our project here on Fundable.
 
Developers — You get early access and founder-level support for creating amazing new apps to help small businesses enjoy science-fiction level benefits from their computing platform.
 
Business Operators — You get first shot at benefiting from an amazing new computing platform designed from scratch to solve your most vexing computer issues, free you from isolated software, and open a world of new interactive capabilities barely imaginable today — all from a tiny $299 box.
 
Technologists — You gain founder-level access to what may turn out to be the most revolutionary new computing platform in decades, plus opportunities for company insider participation in our quest for world domination.
 
Regardless of your role, we ask you to help us here, and help us in your social and industry circles to build our first crowd of supporters for our ambitious new CrowdPC computing platform.
 
View of CrowdPC with iPhone on desk

What Is CrowdPC?

 
CrowdPC completely reinvents the way small business computing works. It turns today's expensive, hard to use computing options upside down by doing three new things.
 
  • It moves all software to one little $299 appliance, where all the software securely shares data in real-time.
  • It allows any device with WiFi and a web browser to securely connect to that software — smartphones, tablets, notebooks, desktops — all of these can use the CrowdPC software in a browser.
  • It delivers the same easy-to-use type of app store that iPhone users enjoy — but for business apps — many of which are not even possible with today's Windows based computers.
 
For $299 you get a simple-to-use computing solution with all of the software you need to run your business, real-time data backup, PCI and HIPAA security compliance out of the box, and a new universe of highly interactive features that share information across customers, employees, management, devices, and the world in totally new ways that boost your sales and profits and reduce your costs and hassles. CrowdPC makes business computing simple.

CrowdPC Developer Overview

 
CrowdPC may be the most ambitious computer industry venture ever launched. Our goal is no less than to make obsolete every existing computing system currently installed in every business on earth.
 
We're asking you, as a skilled OSS LAMPP + Javascript web application developer — to join us in this crazily ambitious quest.
 
You see, CrowdPC moves the LAMPP platform a step closer to the end user than today. Rather than running rich Internet applications on data center located servers, we run them on individual wireless app servers inside local business facilities. The user group for an app is no longer "the world," but is just those users connecting their browser enabled devices to our CrowdPC box over secure WiFi — within that local business facility. Any such device becomes a client for these "local cloud" apps: iPhones and other smartphones, iPads and other tablets, notebooks, or even crusty old desktop PCs — anything with WiFi and a modern browser.
 
We're not just changing the hardware topology, we're changing the way software works. By running all apps on one box within an app environment that shares a common database, all data from all apps is accessible by all other apps in real time — through simple control panel based checkbox settings. This means that all of the business's data is usable in real-time by all of the business's systems. No more bunkered data. The ramifications of this approach are profound, and we think sufficiently valuable to users to empower us to utterly disrupt the global business computing sector.
 
Please watch the above videos for just a glimpse of some of these amazing interactive benefits to business users and their customers.

Business Computing Today

The below video discusses the ridiculous mess that business computing has become over the past 40-years, and points to the key areas needing a radical overhaul.

Business Computing With CrowdPC

The below video discusses the amazing, science fiction-like future possible for small business computing using the CrowdPC Platform.

CrowdPC Development Plan

 
After years of "getting ready to get ready" we are now at the launch point for this project. Our team is in place. Our technology plan is complete. Our suppliers and vendors are aligned with our plan. The timing and the costs make sense. So, we're ready to roll.
 
Since no computing platform has any value without software; and, since LAMPP developers around the world are always seeking new ways to monetize their skills, our project starts with empowering developers.
 
The OSI logo trademark is the trademark of Open Source InitiativeOur first step toward making this interesting and worthwhile to developers is to open source our operating system. Everything above our hardware stack is OSS within OSI approved open source licenses. By the time we ship our developer kits our online community will be built and our first code release will be posted.
 
Our second step toward making this worthwhile to early developers is to give them very early access to the business opportunity of having a published app (or several) on our App Store when we launch the commercial platform early next year. Apps can be one-time priced, or can be subscription based. But, business apps, especially ones delivering solid value, sell for much more than consumer apps. And, this reality creates an enormous new monetization opportunity for skilled LAMPP developers.
 
As a developer you will have the chance to create exciting apps for any of the verticals where we will be marketing the CrowdPC platform, including:
 
- retail - restaurant  - logistics - healthcare  - gaming  - finance  - legal  - industrial/manufacture - banking - education  - hospitality  - transportation  - real estate  - law enforcement  - construction - government - public safety - more
 
So, click the button here, reserve your CrowdPC DevBox and developer kit for $149. About 90-days after the project ends you'll have a package delivered that contains your key to an incredibly exciting, challenging, and rewarding new period in your career, as a founding CrowdPC app developer.

The Process For Developers

 
This phase of the CrowdPC project is all about enabling developers to begin working with the CrowdOS platform and building apps for release in our app store early next year.
 
We've been asked "What capabilities do I get?" and "How will this work flow work?" a few times, so here are those answers.
 
Understand clearly that these are web apps that you build locally, package using a simple packaging utility we will provide, and then deploy through our system into your own CrowdPC for testing and usage. The packaging and upload utility will be simple to use, will verify conformance to the package protocol, and will check for the presence of any needed items, such as device drivers, and referenced assets.
 
You may upload and deploy apps to as many CrowdPC boxes as you have linked to your account. Just understand that the deployments will not have access to any CrowdPC platform server-side features such as payment processing, real-time back-up, or such. However, the first CrowdPC DevBox units shipped, and the basic server-side deployment system, will be sufficient to immediately load and run apps on CrowdPC units linked to your developer account.
 
This means that as soon as 90-days from the end of the project you could have one or more CrowdPC units locally running an app you create for a business in your market — already creating new income for you — just using the base developer platform within a local use case.
 
If you wish, you can write a useful app for your own office or home, load it through the system to one or more CrowdPC units, and enjoy the benefits of locally accessible rich Internet applications for your own benefit — again, just using the base developer system.
 
We will provide a stable hardware platform, an efficient hardware abstraction layer, a robust LAMP+ app server environment, open APIs for data sharing across the unique MySQL environment, and an easy to use packaging and deployment utility to get your apps onto your linked CrowdPC DevBox app server.

Development Timeline, Resources and Costs

 
The CrowdPC platform consists of three main elements: the CrowdPC wireless application server hardware, the CrowdOS operating system and application environment software, and the CrowdPC Online data center services. There will be other elements needed prior to a commercial market launch early next year. But, for now, our focus is on enabling an open source project for CrowdOS, and building out the base platform sufficiently to empower our early developers to create apps for end users.
 
 
Thus, our first stage will build a batch of CrowdPC app servers pre-loaded with the then-current CrowdOS pre-release version, and supported by developer tools and the basic framework on our online system. We will ship these deliverables within 90-days of project funding.

CrowdPC (Phase 1)

 
Our first iteration CrowdPC "DevBox" version will be based 100% on an existing ARM chip reference board from Marvell. We have contracted to have these boards produced to our I/O and mechanical spec. The boards will then be assembled into our own enclosures at our Tennessee facility.
 
These initial CrowdPC DevBox systems will be completed and ready to ship to developers and other backers within 90-days of funding.

Features of CrowdPC (Phase 1)

 
The following features will be included in the CrowdPC DevBox version for Phase 1 of our development:
  • Model — CrowdPC DevBox
  • Processor — Marvell Kirkwood 88F6281 @ 1.2GHz
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage — 32GB NAND Flash
  • Wireless — 802.11n AP mode
  • Connectivity — peripherals connect by USB-over-WiFi
  • Ports — Gigabit Ethernet, DC power
  • Power — 5VDC, 3A
  • Size — 3.5” x 5.0” x 1.3”
  • OS — CrowdOS, Linux 2.6.3x kernel
  • App scheme — LAMPP + Javascript + extensions
  • Included — CrowdPC DevBox, DC wall adapter, wall bracket
  • Normal price — $199

CrowdOS Overview

CrowdOS consists of a Debian based core operating system ported to the ARM architecture, an Apache 2.x server stack with a custom set of modules and configuration settings to serve as a WLAN application server and WiFi access point.  The CrowdOS application runtime environment is based on this LAMPP stack with the addition of many PHP and Javascript libraries allowing developers filesystem utilities, WiFi AP configuration, data sharing via the MySQL server, permissions tracking, and USB over WiFi configuration tools.

CrowdOS (Phase 1)

We will manage a development timeline for CrowdOS (phase 1) of 10 weeks from initial funding until the Phase 1 developer platform is complete and ready for public testing.  This timeline is based on a project led by Ryan Quinn with support from two additional developers working full time on the project.

Features in CrowdOS (Phase 1)

 
The following features will be completed in Phase 1 of CrowdOS development:
  • Building of the core Linux OS image to provide the base system for the CrowdOS Platform
  • Identification and porting of any additional Linux driver or application software required for the core functions identified herein.
  • Development of a custom set of modules and configuration options to provide the desired Apache server functionality with the required security.
  • Development of a database naming and security system to overlay on the existing MySQL database server included in the core OS.
  • Development of an application installation, upgrade and un-installation system including specification for a software packaging system to be used by all CrowdOS apps.
  • Development of CrowdOS application allowing configuration of the device and the WiFi hotspot via a browser.
  • Development of 1-3 additional core applications to be provided as developer examples.  These may include public informational utilities as well as business applications including a basic Point of Sale system.
  • Development of developer APIs allowing secure access to system functions such as network setup, database security management, USB over WiFi devices, filesystem access, client information, etc.
  • Creation of developer documentation and a developer community portal providing resources for CrowdOS developers.

Features for CrowdPC Data Center (Phase 1)

 
The CrowdOS platform will be tightly integrated with an online “app store” system.  For phase 1 the following features will be developed.
  • User account management providing multiple access levels (administrator, developer, business owner, retail customer)
  • Developer system allowing publication of an application either to the public or only within their own account.  This functionality allows a developer to publish an application to just their own devices and would allow them to provide other persons with a key allowing access to the pre-release app for testing.
  • Application profile pages - a system will be created allowing developers to enter basic information about their application including a description, keywords, screen shots and video presentations.  This information will be formatted and displayed in a searchable “app store” format.
  • A cloud based updates system allowing individual CrowdPCs to connect, check for updates to the core CrowdOS Platform as well as their installed applications and automatically update the platform and apps.

The CrowdPC Future

 
By early 2013 we will reach a point where core apps are done, the OS is solid, and our data center systems are bullet proof. And, we'll launch our commercial CrowdPC platform into the global business market. That CrowdPC computer will have a much stronger processor, a state of the art 4x4 MIMO WiFi AP system, and will include HDMI for driving a digital signage panel. More details of our eventual release platform are available on our web site at http://www.crowdpc.com.
 
By partnering with the credit card processing industry and bundling payment services with our platform, we will launch with thousands of direct sales reps around the USA and Europe demonstrating our platform to small businesses of all types. As our developers add more and more specialty apps into our App Store catalog, many niches — small and large — will become sales prospects for the platform. The use cases where CrowdPC delivers enormous new value are broad and varied, only limited by the imagination of our users and developers to leverage the platform's real-time data sharing capabilities in exciting new ways.

The T-shirt

CrowdPC: Join The Crowd! Cotton T-Shirt

Several of our rewards offer a custom T-shirt, so we thought a photo and an explanation were in order.

This T-shirt is a limited edition "CrowdPC: Join The Crowd!"  100% cotton T-shirt only available here during this Fundable.com project — maybe one day a valuable collectible item! The "Join The Crowd" graphic is printed on the front pocket area and much larger on the back of the shirt.

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